BFL: Hodgson highlights need for Bacchus Marsh to improve

We couldn’t make tackles stick.

Cobras coach Travis Hodgson

Bacchus Marsh coach Travis Hodgson needed only a few basic words to summarise the Cobras’ loss to Darley in Saturday’s Ballarat Football League grand final.

Bacchus Marsh ruckman Daniel Burton tussles with Abe Kur in a lively battle. Picture: Dylan Burns

Bacchus Marsh ruckman Daniel Burton tussles with Abe Kur in a lively battle. Picture: Dylan Burns

“We weren’t good enough. They were too good.”

Hodgson said there was no doubt Darley was the better side for the majority of the day.

He was encouraged late in the second term, when he felt the Cobras were working backing into the game.

While Darley had had control, the low scoring nature of the match meant Bacchus Marsh was still within striking distance if it could sustain an effort.

Hodgson said Bacchus Marsh had it best moments early in the third quarter.

The Cobras looked re-energised, attacking the ball much harder, and after a series of surges their second goal of the day was enough get them within 12 points on Darley.

Hodgson said he felt at the time that another goal might change the game.

He said having Dean Heta yellow carded and sent off at the 13-minute mark broke the back of Bacchus Marsh though.

Hodgson said Bacchus Marsh was able to maintain the pressure before being one down eventually told.

Darley kicked four goals while the Cobras were down to 17 players, so by the time Heta returned the Devils lead had blown out to 49 points.

Hodgson highlighted Darley’s superior skills, especially by foot, as a major factors in the outcome.

He said the Cobras had been well aware of this throughout the year and he had spoken publically about it during the finals series.

“It’s something we have to work on.”

Hodgson said Bacchus Marsh had also been unable to exert the necessary pressure – something that had played a big factor in its 2016 premiership campaign. “We couldn’t make tackles stick.”

He said Darley had been at the other end of the spectrum, with its ability to close down Bacchus Marsh’s space making all the difference.

“It made them look fitter and a lot quicker. There’s no excuses though.

“There’s flaws in our game and we need to improve.”

Hodgson has taken Bacchus Marsh to grands finals in each of his first two years at the club and has another two years to run on his contract after extending his tenure mid-season.

He introduced match-winners such as Jarrah Maksymow, Damian Cupido and Daniel Burton last year and lured back the likes of Alec Del Papa, Matt Denham and Rhys McNay.

With the departure of Cupido and former Cam Richardson this season, Hodgson introduced versatile tall Dean Heta, classy small Scott Sherlock as an assistant coach after a distinguished VFL career with Werribee and welcomed home Ryley Stuhldreier. Then Jethro Calma-Holt was a mid-season addition. The Cobras also had the services of VFL-listed and ex-St Kilda rookie Brenton Payne before a foot ended his season. 

Hodgson can be expected to again be aggressive in recruiting to keep Bacchus Marsh at the top end of the BFL.